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11 August 2018, 07:08 | Darnell Patrick
The Associated Press
A 51-year-old man who is accused of making the threat, "This place will burn", for over three years has been arrested and charged with starting the so-called "Holy Fire", causing almost 10,000 acres to burn and 20,000 people to be placed under evacuation orders at Cleveland National Forest in Southern California. At least 17 major wildfires were burning across California on Thursday, with the Holy Fire dwarfed by other blazes farther north. It is 49% contained, and has killed eight people, including three firefighters.
When investigators went to question Clark he abrasively told them they weren't allowed on his property in Holy Jim Canyon, the flashpoint of the fire, Duff said. "The flames were just twirling and twirling", she said.
On July 25, police arrested Brandon McGlover on suspicion of setting the Cranston Fire in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles.
Arraignment for the man suspected of starting the Holy Fire will happen Friday with or without him after he refused to leave his jail cell for his first hearing.
The fire was being fueled by dry brush covering steep terrain and stoked by erratic wind gusts during the night, said Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for the incident said.
The Holy Fire started Monday in the Cleveland National Forest's Holy Jim Canyon and has so far destroyed a dozen structures, according to fire authorities.
According to Orange County officials, Mr Clark had emailed the local volunteer fire chief to threaten "this place will burn".
Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, is charged with arson and other crimes in connection with the Holy Fire.
"Firefighters continue to battle the blaze around the clock", the national forest tweet said.
His wife and their two daughters have left but the 38-year-old said: 'Until this thing is barking at my door, I'm going to stick with it'.
A large swath of homes, however, was bathed fire retardant, creating the appearance of a bright red river cutting through the threatened neighborhood.
If Clark is convicted he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Cal Fire crews are helping federal firefighters put out flames in national forests and one that has reached Yosemite National Park, prompting its closure at the height of tourist season.
For two weeks a tiresome haze and the faint smell of smoke from more than a dozen distant blazes have blanketed many California cities, forcing summer campers to stay inside, obscuring normally bright skylines and leaving cars covered with ash.
Furious flames and smoke can be seen billowing across the area in and around Lake Elsinore. "This should be called the Holy Hell Fire".
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